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How to Stop a Baseball Bat
With Something Besides Your Head!


Dear Friend,


Stopping a baseball bat is always a student favorite.  Technically, it is simple.  Psychologically, it is not.  The reason that many martial artists of any discipline fail in the use of their technique is that they fail to understand that attack is emotionally driven, and that being attacked has an emotional impact.  As a result, instructors often fail to train the mental and emotional parts adequately.  The technique itself may have no physical flaw.  The flaw is in both self-understanding, and the understanding of oneís opponent.


Someone swinging a baseball bat at you is driven emotionally to attack you.  He will select targets that he most recognizes as being you, and that is the head.  He doesnít think of your legs or your torso as being you, he thinks of the face and the thinking part of you as being you.  He is also attacking the area he believes will end the fight most quickly and give him a release from his own fear and provide him with satisfaction.  That makes the attack predictable.  You know the target, and can set up an easy defense for the target.


If you take a person and just randomly swing a bat at them, they will jump around trying to avoid it, if you donít hit them with the first couple of blows.  If you jump around as the defender, the attacker will change the target from the head and perhaps target the legs.  Baseball bat versus legs is a technically difficult challenge, and not someplace you want to be.  So, the first step in defense is to keep the target predictable to the attacker, so that the attacker will not select an alternate target.  In other words, donít get cute.  If you are jumping around, but not running away, it generally means you canít run away and the attacker will eventually beat you down.

The physical sequence:

--Raise arms defensively, both in front of the body at the general height of the head.

--Charge toward the person, keeping the body reasonably upright as a swing is made.  You will get hit by the bat, but you want to do so near the base rather than the head of the bat.  Because of physics, a bat move more slowly near the hands and you will be able to tolerate the blow.  It will land with some force on you, but it will be survivable, and there should not be any significant injuries.

--After the bump, wrap the bat with arm closest to the bat and press it against your torso.  --Strike the arms of your attacker vigorously to knock them off the bat.  Continue striking until release.


As with all written instructions, you need to be very cautious in practice while you figure things out.  Also donít use a real baseball bat.  Guidelines for safe practice can be found in my 99 cent guide to Arnis online.


The mental difficulty for you as the defender is facing a real baseball bat and learning to step inside the swing with proper timing.  The fear of the bat causes hesitation.  ďAhhh.  Am I doing the right thing? What am I supposed to do?Ē  Hesitation in the face of a swing means that you will get caught by the bat closer to the danger zone of the bat head.  Proper training gets a person through the fear response and lets them respond quickly and reflexively.


Good luck!

Warm Regards,


Guro Mike Steenrod


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